It’s been nearly a year since his last game, but Carmelo Anthony is still trying to keep his career alive. On Friday, the future Hall-of-Famer appeared on ESPN’s First Take for an exclusive one-on-one interview with host, Stephen A. Smith. Discussing a wide range of topics regarding Melo’s career, Anthony revealed what happened during his departure from the Houston Rockets this past season.
Anthony said his release from the Rockets came as a surprise. He called management with the intent to find his role on the team, but Daryl Morey had something else in mind. Per ESPN:
“I’m here to help the team, let me know what I gotta do,” Anthony said. “But he (Morey) came in and said, ‘Look, your services are no longer needed. Things are just not working out and you gotta figure out what you gotta figure out, something to do.’”
His last game as a Rocket came on November 8 in an embarrassing 98-80 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in which Anthony scored a career-low 2 points and shot 1-for-11 from the field against his former team.
Although his last game may have been his worst, Anthony’s time in Houston was not as terrible as one may believe. He was a dependable rotation player that averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in a 10-game span despite struggling mightily on defense, and after scoring 20 or more points on three separate occasions, Melo believes his departure from Houston went beyond his play on the court.
“This is deeper than basketball, I was on a 10-game trial period,” said Anthony. “That’s not something that just happened, this is something that’s been talked over these first 10 games of the season.”
"I didn't like how that went down."— First Take (@FirstTake) August 2, 2019
—Carmelo Anthony talks about getting released from the Rockets. pic.twitter.com/OxwyUBl2wd
After a season where the Rockets came one game shy of the NBA Finals, Houston looked less than the sum of their parts with a 4-6 record to start the year. Falling well below expectations, some believed Anthony was the scapegoat for Houston’s unpleasant start.
In addition to stating what happened the night he left, Anthony cleared the rumors that James Harden and Chris Paul wanted him out of Houston. Melo said that both players were unaware of the situation after a conversation with CP3 that same night.
“I had a one-on-one, heart-to-heart with CP in my room at 1:00 in the morning. Looked him in the eye, he looked me in my eye and told me, ‘I would never do something like that to you.’ I take that.”
Regardless of how his time with the Rockets ended, it is disheartening to see what Carmelo Anthony’s career has become. In a blink of an eye, Anthony went from one of the best scorers in league history to a guy begging and pleading for another chance on national television.